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Are we relying on social media for validation and a sense of self-worth?

How is social media impacting on our body image?

Written by Jessie Newsome and posted in voices

"So scroll on by those images, and remember that you are enough"

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How many of us can admit to spending at least some of our time attempting to capture the “perfect” selfie in the most flattering light at the optimum angle? I think it’s fair to say that almost all of us, at one point or another, have done this. But what exactly in that moment were we attempting to achieve? Did we even consciously consider why we felt the need to take a snap of our best face so we could show the world? There’s nothing wrong with the odd harmless selfie, but when we become reliant on pictures and posts to provide us with validation and a sense of self-worth, this is where the issue starts.

For the most part, I have a big concern about the influence of many media influencers and even the bog standard individual who posts every waking moment of their lives on social media. What we choose to share on social media is almost always the best version of ourselves; our most riveting adventures, nights out with friends, healthiest meals, and most flattering gym selfies. I’m no innocent party either, and looking at my social media account proves to me so plainly that what one can view there, is not a comprehensive depiction of my reality.

A myriad of airbrushed photos, designer clothing, flattering poses, perfect relationships, intense exercise regimes and “clean” diets are all viewable at a scroll through facebook or instagram; all portrayed to be reality, and all so false. Life is not one big happy swirl of avocado on toast, killer workouts, perfect makeup and loving partners. Life is messy; it’s full of ups and downs, breakups and makeups, melted makeup and often less than perfect diets. But why are we so ashamed to show this side to us? We strive to use social media to connect but instead, through these images we create wider divisions, sending out a message that imperfect is not normal and we are not worthy if we make mistakes.

It has to be said, there has been an uplifting trend in “body positive” social media influencers, tackling this very issue. They’ve been creating more real to life social media accounts and documenting not only their proudest moments, but also their toughest. They reinforce the idea that we are only human, and we are not built for perfection in every domain of life. Social media users who rigorously attempt to portray a perfect lifestyle are not only damaging the self-esteem and confidence of young, influential individuals, but they’re kidding themselves.

My advice to you – next time you come across that all too familiar post of an airbrushed image of someone with a seemingly perfect and elegant existence, think about it. Realise that this is not reality; this individual’s personal struggles cannot be translated through a camera lens. So scroll on by those images, eat your burritos (or your indulgence food of choice) and remember that you are enough. 

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Published Feb­ru­ary 22nd2017
Last updated July 3rd2018
Tags body image body positivity self image
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